The coming weekend might be the busiest of the year, as the Gem City will be bursting at the seams with Christmas events all over town.
Festivities are already underway with a UW theater production and the UW Art Museum’s Festival of Trees. Tonight, the fun continues with the Downtown Holiday Parade and several stage productions, while Saturday’s full slate includes bazaars, Christmas in Centennial and more. The weekend’s events roll into Sunday with the Holiday Home Tour and Christmas at the Gryphon.
The Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting and Parade, hosted by Laramie Main Street Alliance, is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. today with a lighting of a Christmas tree at the First Street Plaza. The Beitel Elementary Bulldog Choir will perform at 5:45 p.m., and audience members can enjoy hot chocolate and cider. From 4-6 p.m., families can take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Corthell and King Law Offices, 221 S. Second St.
The parade is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., with floats featuring this year’s theme, “Gingerbread Houses.”
“We’re expecting to have floats that are gingerbread houses and gingerbread men,” said parade chair Denise Deem.
Deem said she’s expecting up to 40 parade floats, with prizes awarded for best use of theme, best use of lights and best overall.
“It’s chaos, but it is fun,” she said.
The parade route starts near the corner of Second and Fremont streets heading south, then turns onto University Avenue and then First Street. At Garfield Street, the route turns east back to Second Street and heads north to the starting point.
“It usually takes about 20-30 minutes to see the whole parade,” she said.
The grand marshal will be Rowan Shea, the son of Alec and Jodi Shea, who own the Curiosity Shoppe and Sweet Pickles. Rowan is undergoing treatment for a rare form of childhood cancer.
The parade will also honor Jerry and Jeanetta Schmidt, who own Back of the Wagon Antiques, for 14 years of volunteer service with Main Street.
Deem said the parade is a feel-good tradition that brings the community together.
“There are an amazing amount of people that come down to the parade,” she said. “It’s absolutely wonderful.”
If standing outside in the cold at night isn’t your thing, the University of Wyoming Collegiate Chorale is set to present its annual candlelight holiday concert this weekend.
“The Deepening Light” is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, 104 S. Fourth St. Tickets are $20 for the public and $10 for students and seniors, and they’re available online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
“I think that the community has really come to expect this concert as the opening of their holiday season and a time to remember peace and kindness in our world today,” said Nicole Lamartine, director of choral activities at UW.
The concert is set to feature selections including 1970s feel-good pieces, civil rights songs, pop music and traditional choral music. Each selection contemplates ways to deepen awareness and the juxtaposition between light and dark.
“It explores how the light within us can become deeper, and sometimes the light needs to have darkness in order to shine,” Lamartine said.
Pianist Tim Ribner, based in Portland, Oregon, will accompany the singers, along with guitarist Jeff Selden.
In keeping with tradition, choir members will join the audience in closing the concert with a candlelight singing of “Silent Night.”
Here’s a list, no doubt not exhaustive, of other holiday events taking place this weekend and into next week:
n Snowy Mountain Christmas Bazaar, 6-8 p.m. today and 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Laramie Historic Railroad Depot, 600 S. First St.
n Gloryland Pastor’s Choir Concert and Goods Drive, 6:30 p.m. today at Laramie High School, 1710 Boulder Dr. Go to facebook.com/familypromisealbanycounty.
n Holiday Showcase!, 7 p.m. today at Laramie Dance Center, 170 N. Second St., Ste. C. Go to facebook.com/laramiedancecenter.
n Irish Dance Theatre presents “The Celtic Gift,” 7:30 p.m. today at the Gryphon Theatre, 710 Garfield. Go to gryphontheatre.org.
n Relative Theatrics presents “Santaland Diaries,” 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at Bond’s Brewing Company, 411 S. Second St. Go to relativetheatrics.com.
n The UW Department of Theatre and Dance presents “How to Survive Your Family at Christmas,” 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday and Dec. 12-14 at the Buchanan Center for Performing Arts. Go to www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
nChristmas in Centennial, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Centennial. Go to christmasincentennial.com.
n Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Albany County Fairgrounds.
n Happy Holidays Laramie Festival of Trees, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the UW Art Museum, 2111 Willet Dr. Go to www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum.
— Ivinson Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Gingerbread Jamboree, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, 255 N. 30th St. Go to imhfoundation.org.
n Albany County Fire District No. 1 Central Christmas Open House, noon-4 p.m. Saturday at the fire house, 4387 N. Third St. Go to facebook.com/ACFD1Central.
n Laser Holidays, 7 p.m. Saturday at the Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium. Go to www.uwyo.edu/physics/planetarium.
n University Women’s Club presents the Holiday Home Tour, noon-4 p.m. Sunday around Laramie. Tickets are available at Ace Hardware, 611 Grand Ave.
n Christmas at the Gryphon, 7 p.m. Sunday at the Gryphon Theatre, 710 Garfield. Go to gryphontheatre.org.